This is a complete presentation on John William Waterhouse - Painting - Myth - Literature - Victorian. THERE ARE MANY ACTUAL SLIDES FOR YOUR REVIEW IN THE PREVIEW. THIS IS YOUR BEST INDICATION OF PRODUCT QUALITY.
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Mythology & Art
Waterhouse did not arrive overnight at the memorable women we saw on the prior slides. From 1872-1888, his efforts were hit and miss on bringing forth those beautiful women. He also had an early painting interest in the more southerly climes, like Italy, Greece and North Africa. This often involved posing the women in native garb.
These early interests gradually disappeared from his work. His specialty became his depictions of beautiful women from both ancient Greek mythology and Arthurian legend. Yet they looked like English Roses with their fair complexions, light eyes, flowing hair and lithe, tall frames.
Waterhouse was classed during his career as either, or both, a Pre-Raphaelite or a Neo-Classic painter.
Waterhouse Painting: Ulysses & Sirens, 1891
This is a scene from the journeys of the Greek hero Odysseus (in Latin he is called Ulysses) as told in Homer’s Odyssey. The Sirens lure sailors towards perilous rocks and their doom by singing in their gorgeous voices. Odysseus wanted to hear the Sirens sing but without causing danger to his ship. He ordered his crew to lash him to a mast and block their ears.
Waterhouse chose to depict the Sirens with bird bodies topped by the heads of beautiful women. Prior to his painting, Victorian audiences saw the Sirens depicted as mermaid-like nymphs. Waterhouse got the bird idea from an ancient Greek vase in the British Museum.
Art critic MH Spielmann for the Magazine of Art, wrote, after the painting opened to public view, “It is a very startling triumph, a very carnival of colour, mosaicked and balanced with skill. The quality of the painting is a considerable advance upon Waterhouse’s antecedent work.”